Blackhawk Community Credit Union challenges young people
Donna M. Wagner, Marketing Director
Blackhawk Community Credit Union
Janesville, WI – Today’s teens excel at a lot of things – high-speed text messaging, networking in a digital world and outpacing friends’ scores on the latest video games, for example. But from April 18-24, Blackhawk Community Credit Union will challenge its younger members to do something they’ve probably not practiced nearly as much: saving money.
“Years ago, young people learning about money counted change and squirreled away dollars and cents. For young people today, money exists largely as plastic and gets exchanged by the swipe of a card,” said Donna Wagner, Marketing Director for Blackhawk Community CU, a not-for-profit financial institution owned by over 32,500 members in the Rock, Dane, Green, Jefferson and Walworth county areas. “And because so many young people’s experience with cash is so limited, grasping how much of it they have and how much they can spend is quite puzzling,” she says.
As a result, young people are in danger of succumbing to debt problems early in life – a trap Ms. Wagner says can only be reversed by instilling an appreciation for saving that starts during youth and continues into adulthood. That’s why Blackhawk Community CU is making a special push to get young people in our area saving as part of the National Credit Union Youth Week. Last year, more than 6,500 youth deposited $383,503 in credit union accounts statewide as part of the challenge. That’s close to $60 saved per participant!
Blackhawk Community Credit Union also (helps supervise two youth-run student credit unions that operates inside Parker and Craig High Schools – a project that doesn’t make profits for the credit union but teaches young people to save. Ms. Wagner says that credit unions statewide – which pioneered the concept of teaching saving through the use of almost 90 credit union branches across Wisconsin – have received four Governor’s Financial Literacy Awards in just the past five years for programs tied to their REAL Solutions effort, which encourages saving and wealth-building.
“Because credit unions are owned by the depositors who borrow and save with them and have no outside investors, we can invest in programs like these that improve the quality of life in our communities. It’s an investment in the future economic health and ultimately our state,” she says.
Blackhawk Community Credit Union is a $310 million credit union with over 32,500 members. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, goes to school or owns property in Rock, Dane, Green, Jefferson and Walworth counties. Branches are located in Janesville, Edgerton, Stoughton and Delavan. Products and services include savings, checking and money market accounts, certificates, mortgage and home equity loans, traditional and personal loans, and credit cards. Investment services are available through Blackhawk Wealth Management Services in the Court and Milwaukee Street branches.